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J Exp Bot. 2012 Jun;63(10):3683-95. doi: 10.1093/jxb/ers058. Epub 2012 Mar 21.

The interaction of the novel 30C02 cyst nematode effector protein with a plant β-1,3-endoglucanase may suppress host defence to promote parasitism.

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  • 1Longwood University, Department of Biological & Environmental Sciences, Farmville, VA 23909, USA.


Phytoparasitic nematodes secrete an array of effector proteins to modify selected recipient plant cells into elaborate and essential feeding sites. The biological function of the novel 30C02 effector protein of the soybean cyst nematode, Heterodera glycines, was studied using Arabidopsis thaliana as host and the beet cyst nematode, Heterodera schachtii, which contains a homologue of the 30C02 gene. Expression of Hg30C02 in Arabidopsis did not affect plant growth and development but increased plant susceptibility to infection by H. schachtii. The 30C02 protein interacted with a specific (AT4G16260) host plant β-1,3-endoglucanase in both yeast and plant cells, possibly to interfere with its role as a plant pathogenesis-related protein. Interestingly, the peak expression of 30C02 in the nematode and peak expression of At4g16260 in plant roots coincided at around 3-5 d after root infection by the nematode, after which the relative expression of At4g16260 declined significantly. An Arabidopsis At4g16260 T-DNA mutant showed increased susceptibility to cyst nematode infection, and plants that overexpressed At4g16260 were reduced in nematode susceptibility, suggesting a potential role of host β-1,3-endoglucanase in the defence response against H. schachtii infection. Arabidopsis plants that expressed dsRNA and its processed small interfering RNA complementary to the Hg30C02 sequence were not phenotypically different from non-transformed plants, but they exhibited a strong RNA interference-mediated resistance to infection by H. schachtii. The collective results suggest that, as with other pathogens, active suppression of host defence is a critical component for successful parasitism by nematodes and a vulnerable target to disrupt the parasitic cycle.

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